Best Long Eye Relief Scopes

by Travis Pike

February 25, 2022

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The world of optics is continually growing, but today we aren’t talking about a new type of optic. Nah, we are talking about a rather old kind of optic that doesn’t get much love these days. Specifically, we are talking all about the best long eye relief scopes on the market.

Sadly, there aren’t a whole lot of long eye relief scopes out there these days. Luckily, there are a few good ones at most price points. Today, we will point out the best long eye relief scopes currently on the market and give you a general education on long eye relief scope.

If you just can’t wait, and want to know what is on our list, click here to see our list of the Best Long Eye Relief Scopes.

What’s Eye Relief?

I guess before we dive into the world of long eye relief scopes, we need to talk about what eye relief is. Let me give you the fancy definition of eye relief. Eye relief is the distance from the outer surface of the eyepiece lens to the position where the exit pupil is formed. Here’s the simple one, eye relief is the distance from the rear lens of the optic to your eye.

Eye relief varies, and it varies wildly. For example, the Trijicon ACOG 4X optic has an eye relief of 1.5 inches, which is incredibly narrow. That’s one of the tighter eye relief scales on the market. Optics like the SIG Tango6 have an eye relief of 3.9 inches, which is considered generous.

So is the SIG Tango6 a long eye relief scope? No, not even close. It’s a generous eye relief, but not a long eye relief. Long eye relief is often considered to be an eye relief in excess of 10 inches. That’s a lot of space, and 10 inches is just the beginning. Eye relief can get even longer. A long eye relief scope doesn’t offer unlimited eye relief.

The term unlimited eye relief often refers to 1X red dot optics. These optics allow you to see the red dot and use the optic at dang near any position. Red dots can undoubtedly be used on weapons that require long eye relief optics, but they are not considered long eye relief scopes.

So What’s a Long Eye Relief Scope?

A long eye relief scope is an optic with around 6 to 10 inches of eye relief and isn’t a red dot. These optics pack some magnification. It’s often a low level of magnification compared to long-range optics. These optics can be fixed power or variable and can be used on both rifles and handguns.

Benefits of a Long Eye Relief Scope

We know the what, now let’s talk about the why. The first benefit of a long eye relief scope is the long eye relief. You don’t have to be tight to the gun. This makes it easy to use these optics with unusual guns and even handguns. Mounting a magnified optic any other way simply isn’t viable for some guns.

The placement of a long eye relief scope typically allows for a greater field of view when aiming. Since the optic is stuck up near your eye, you use your peripheral vision to a much wider degree. You can instantly switch from the magnified view to the open field of view option.

You can also often get behind the optic faster and get the reticle on target quickly and efficiently. The eye box is super forgiving, so you can get fast, magnified snapshots on target. You also get a few minor benefits. Your breath can’t possibly fog a long eye relief optic up when you’re shooting in the winter, and getting scope bite is impossible.

So we know what and the why, now how about the who? Let’s talk about the best long eye relief scopes on the market.

Best Long Eye Relief Scopes

Best Long Eye Relief Scopes

Burris Scout
  • Designed For Rifles
  • Ballistic Plex Reticle
  • Light and Compact
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Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm
  • LPVO type magnification
  • Duplex Reticle
  • Low Light Glass
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Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout
  • Designed for Rifles
  • Fine V-Plex Reticle
  • Capped Turrets
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Leupold FX-2 Scout
  • Fixed Power
  • Rifle Scope
  • Duplex Reticle
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Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8x33mm
  • Variable Magnification
  • Handgun Scope
  • Duplex Reticle
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Burris 2X Handgun Plex
  • Fixed Magnification
  • Plex Reticle
  • Handgun Scope
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NC Star 2.5x30mm
  • Affordable
  • Fixed Power
  • Large Objective Lens
Check Price

Long Eye Relief Scope Specs

Below we have lined up our top 7 scopes and outlined their individual specifications.

ScopeMagnificationWeightLengthEye Relief
Burris Scout Scope2-7X13 ounces9.7 inches9.2-12 inches
Leupold VX-Freedom Scout1.5-4X9.6 ounces11.1 inches6.9 inches
Crossfire Scout Scope2-7X12 ounces11.52 inches9.45 inches
Leupold FX-2 Scout2.5X7.5 ounces10.1 inches9.3 inches
Leupold VX-3 Handgun2.5-8X10.9 ounces11.4 inches15 inches
Burris 2X Handgun Plex2X7 ounces8.9 inches10-24 inches
NC Star2.5X11 ounces8.86 inches10.45 inches

1. Burris Scout

Burris Scout Scope

Burris Scout

The Burris Scout Scope is a 2-7 power optic that’s explicitly designed for Scout rifles.

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  • Reliability A+
  • Glass A+
  • Reticle A-
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Value A

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Burris Scout Specs

  • Magnification 2-7X
  • Weight 13 ounces
  • Length 9.7 inches
  • Eye Relief 9.2-12 inches

Burris Scout Scope Review

Burris takes chances, and I appreciate that. They create a wide variety of optics that range from red dots, prisms, and of course, a selection of variable scopes. The Burris Scout Scope is a 2-7 power optic that’s explicitly designed for Scout rifles. Scout rifles come from Jeff Cooper, and the gun calls specifically for a long eye relief, low powered optic. Thus, the Burris satisfies that requirement.

The Burris Scout Scope keeps things simple with its design. Inside the optic sits a basic ballistic plex reticle that provides three drop points for ballistic drop. If you know your holdovers, you can use these dots to make it easy to drop shots at longer ranges. What’s the point of a rifle if you don’t have rifle capabilities?

The Scout Scope packs punch but won’t cause balance issues. The Burris Scout weighs only 13 ounces and is only 9.7 inches long. You might have limited room, and the Burris Scout Scope provides a short optic for that role. The Scout Scope comes with tons of fun minor features. We get fingertip adjustable turrets, hand-fitted internal assemblies, high-grade optical glass, and more. It’s an excellent optic that’s well priced and offers lots of features at a great price point.

Burris Scout Scope Pros and Cons

  • Light and Short
  • Crystal Clear Glass
  • Solid Magnification Range
  • Stiff Magnification Ring

Burris Scout Scope Deals

2. Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28mm

Leupold’s known for making high-quality rifle scopes that are well made, easy to use, and capable. The VX-Freedom Scout is no different.

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  • Reliability A
  • Glass A+
  • Reticle A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

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Leupold VX-Freedom Specs

  • Magnification 1.5-4X
  • Weight 9.6 ounces
  • Length 11.1 inches
  • Eye Relief 6.9 inches

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout Review

Do you like the small size, lightweight, and versatile nature of a low-powered variable optic but want it in long eye relief? Well, if so, then the Leupold VX-Freedom Scout is for you. The 1.5-4X design gives you that LPVO versatility in that scout rifle package. Leupold’s known for making high-quality rifle scopes that are well made, easy to use, and capable. The VX-Freedom Scout is no different.

The VX-Freedom Scout’s lower-powered 1.5X setting allows you to engage at super closer ranges with ease. The lower-powered design will enable you to take quick snapshots with ease and put lead on target quickly and easily. At brush hunting ranges, the VX-Freedom Scout works brilliantly. When things get a little further away, you spin that magnification ring up to 4X you take shots out to 300 yards with ease.

The VX-Freedom Scout offers you a crystal clear sight picture and excellent waterproof capabilities. It can take what the burhs has to throw at it and is at home on lever actions, bolt actions, and whatever else you might want to toss at it. The VX-Freedom offers you versatility and capability in the form of a long eye relief scope.

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout Pros and Cons

  • Versatile magnification range
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Crisp Duplex Reticle
  • Not a True 1X

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout Deals

3. Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout

Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout

Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout

The Crossfire series offers a quality, well-made optic at a rather friendly price point.

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  • Reliability A
  • Glass A
  • Reticle A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

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Vortex Crossfire 2-7X32 Specs

  • Magnification 2-7X
  • Weight 12 ounces
  • Length 11.52 inches
  • Eye Relief 9.45 inches

Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout Review

Vortex throws their hat in the ring with just about every type of optic on the market. The Crossfire series offers a quality, well-made optic at a rather friendly price point. This budget-friendly optic does drop some of the fancier features to reduce cost without reducing quality. This includes dropping fingertip adjustable turrets, illuminated reticles, and similar features.

The Vortex Crossfire 2-7X32 series of Scout scopes gives you a traditional scout scope with a long eye relief aimed at rifles, precisely the same scout rifles we’ve previously mentioned. The Vortex Crossfire uses a very fine reticle that’s easy to use at every magnification range. The V-Plex design makes it easy to get on target and to see your target at the same time. Too thick of a reticle makes it tough to use a long eye relief scope.

The versatile magnification range works with the glass. The glass is okay and does work well with the limited magnification range. Long eye relief scopes can benefit from nice glass, but not as much as a normal scope. The Crossfire might be a budget scope but is sealed, so it’s waterproof, made from one piece of metal, and completely shockproof.

Crossfire 2-7X32 Scout Pros and Cons

  • Budget-Friendly
  • Rugged
  • Compact
  • Glass isn’t the sharpest

Vortex Crossfire Scout Deals

4. Leupold FX-2 Scout

Leupold FX-2 Scout

Leupold FX-2 Scout

It doesn’t get much lighter or more compact than the FX-2 Scout. This fixed 2.5 power scope doesn’t get too crazy but does give you a very lightweight and capable long eye relief scope.

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  • Reliability A
  • Glass A
  • Reticle B+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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Leupold FX-2 Scout Specs

  • Magnification 2.5X
  • Weight 7.5 ounces
  • Length 10.1 inches
  • Eye Relief 9.3 inches

Leupold FX-2 Scout Review

It doesn’t get much lighter or more compact than the FX-2 Scout. This fixed 2.5 power scope doesn’t get too crazy but does give you a very lightweight and capable long eye relief scope. This type of optic fits perfectly on lever-action guns in classic American calibers like .30-30, 45 Colt, 44 Magnum, and the like. The lower-powered magnification limits your effective range, so it’s best to pair it with the appropriate caliber.

The FX-2 Scout does pack some really nice glass, and it seems almost a shame to waste the glass on a 2.5X optic, but maybe the low magnification helps make the glass seem so nice. The lightweight and short design make it perfectly well suited for short and lightweight lever guns. Scopes mounted too far forward can off-balance a rifle, but the FX-2 Scout is plenty lightweight to prevent that.

While small and light, it’s still a Leupold. That means it can take a real beating without worrying about function. Water, recoil, and fog stand no chance against this optic. It can take the abuse you can toss at it. The FX-2 Scout is about as light and as small as it gets with Scout optics.

Leupold FX-2 Scout Pros and Cons

  • Super Compact
  • Clear Glass
  • Durable
  • Very Niche Design

Leupold FX-2 Scout Deals

5. Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8x33mm

Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8x33mm

Leupold VX-3 Handgun 2.5-8x33mm

The Leupold VX-3 Handgun is the big daddy of long eye relief handgun optics.

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  • Reliability A
  • Glass A
  • Reticle A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x33mm Specs

  • Magnification 2.5-8X
  • Weight 10.9 ounces
  • Length 11.4 inches
  • Eye Relief 15 inches

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x33mm Review

Handgun optics are the other significant role for the long eye relief optic. Handgun red dots might seem ordinary by now, but long eye relief scopes on handguns have been around longer. These tend to stick to big revolvers and rifle caliber pistols like the Thomspon Encore series. The Leupold VX-3 Handgun is the big daddy of long eye relief handgun optics.

The VX-3 Handgun offers a variable magnification setup which is a rare feat for handgun scopes. The 2.5-8X magnification range is quite impressive, and that kind of range will undoubtedly carry your pistol round out quite a distance. With 15 inches of eye relief, you can fully extend your arms without issue and, heck, even implement a bipod or shooting sticks.

The Leupold VX-3 Handgun offers the Leupold glass and toughness they are reputed for. The glass does well at 8X and is crystal clear at 2.5X. It’s a versatile range that allows you to zoom in, snap to, and hit targets at long range and short range. The targets can vary between deer, coyotes, and even little prairie dogs with this magnification range.

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x33mm Pros and Cons

  • Versatile Variable Magnification Range
  • Durable
  • Super Long Eye Relief
  • Adds 10.9 ounces to your handgun

Leupold VX-3 Deals

Burris 2X Handgun Plex

  • Magnification 2X
  • Weight 7 ounces
  • Length 8.9 inches
  • Eye Relief 10-24 inches

Burris 2X Handgun Plex Review

If the Leupold is a bit too big and heavy for your handgun, then maybe the Burris 2X Handgun Plex will appeal a bit more. It’s a mere fixed 2 power scope, but for a lot of handgun applications, that’s enough. When tossed on a magnum caliber revolver, 2X will get you to the edge of your max range. The Burris 2X is 8.9 inches and weighs only 7 ounces.

The eye relief is perfect between 10 and 24 inches, and that’s an insane range. That turned out to be a little too good to be true. At 10 inches, there is scope shadow, but at 12ish inches, it’s a clear view to about 18 inches. Beyond 18 inches, you get a little scope shadow. It’s usable at 10 and 24 inches, but it’s not a perfect sight picture.

Although 12 to 18 inches isn’t bad, the optic could be tossed on a rifle since it works as close as 12 inches. It’s versatile and convenient. The reticle is an unassuming plex design that’s easy to use at most ranges. This is the perfect scope for a basic magnum handgun and will allow you to accurately engage deer, hogs, and similar animals at the limits of your gun’s range.

Burris 2X Handgun Plex Pros and Cons

  • Super Lightweight and Compact
  • Clear Glass
  • Versatile eye relief range
  • Advertised eye relief isn’t accurate

Burris 2X Handgun Plex Deals

7. NC Star 2.5x30mm

NC Star 2.5x30mm

NC Star 2.5x30mm

I would typically never include an optic by NC Star on a best optics list. Most don’t hold up. I include this particular model with the caveat that it should only be used on rimfire handguns.

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  • Reliability A-
  • Glass B+
  • Reticle B+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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NC Star 2.5×30 Specs

  • Magnification 2.5X
  • Weight 11 ounces
  • Length 8.86 inches
  • Eye Relief 10.45 inches

NC Star 2.5x30mm Review

I would typically never include an optic by NC Star on a best optics list. Most don’t hold up. I include this particular model with the caveat that it should only be used on rimfire handguns. It’s so dang cheap that it’s easy to justify for a rimfire. Shooting precision shots with a rimfire handgun can be done for fun or for hunting small game. Hitting headshots on squirrels and rabbits is a lot easier to do with a scope than without.

The NC Star 2.5X magnification range is entirely appropriate for a rimfire handgun. It’s enough to take advantage of the round and aid in hitting those small targets. The 30mm objective lens is rifle-sized and opens you up to a very bright and clear sight picture. You can see the target in low light, see small targets without issue, and land accurate shots without concern.

It’s not a fancy sight, but on a 22 LR revolver or automatic pistol, the little NC Star 2.5X will work well enough. The thin V-Plex reticle makes it easy enough to see your target, and if you can see it, you can shoot it. The NC Star 2.5X optic doesn’t excel but provides you with an affordable alternative to the other optics on the list.

NC Star 2.5x30mm Pros and Cons

  • Clear Glass
  • Great Objective Lens
  • Heavy
  • Only Suitable for Rimfires

NC Star 2.5x30mm Deals

Long Eye Relief Scopes – Buyers Guide

Why would someone use a long eye relief scope? Well, certain firearms demand it. A lot of foreign surplus firearms like the Mosin Nagant feature a bolt design that makes using traditional optics difficult. Plus, traditional optics would block a shooter’s ability to use stripper clips to load the weapon. So in this role, the Scout scope or long eye relief scope works wonderfully.

Scout rifles are another reason why long eye relief optics exist. A scout rifle places the optic forward of the action. This allows the user to open up their field of view and maintain perfect peripheral vision while still having a magnified optic on their rifle. A popular feature on scout rifles is stripper clip loading, so that’s another reason why these optics are preferred.

Certain lever guns also benefit significantly from long eye relief scopes. When a lever gun uses the Winchester 94 design, the cartridges eject out the top of the rifle. This prohibits the use of standard optics. Thus a long eye relief scope works perfectly. On top of that, the wider peripheral vision a long eye relief scope offers can be a significant benefit on a lever-action rifle.

Finally, you can abandon the idea of long eye relief scopes just being for rifles. Handguns have gotten more and more powerful. As such, they’ve been used at longer and longer ranges. In this regard, they can reach out and touch a target well beyond the capability of iron sights. Rifle caliber pistols, like the CVA and Thompson Encore pistols, work best with magnified optics to get the most out of their rifle calibers.

Long Eye Relief Reticle Selection

When it comes to choosing a long eye relief reticle, simpler is always better. You don’t want a big obscuring reticle that fills your vision. Simpler is better, and simple stuff like bullet drop compensating reticles can work, but crazy reticles with pyramids, windage scales, and the like aren’t super useful on a long eye relief scope. Simple plex reticles work exceptionally well and provide a simplistic, easy-to-see aiming point for a variety of targets.

Downsides to Long Eye Relief Optics

The most significant benefit is the lack of options. Sadly not a lot of companies produce quality long eye relief scopes. They’ve become a bit tougher to find, and you are limited in your selection. You can’t find a ton of different optics on the market or a ton of varying magnification ranges.

Speaking of, you are limited in your range of magnification. 2.5-8X is the highest level of magnification available. Most variable optics use a 2-7X option, and fixed power options aren’t uncommon either. The weight and size of a long eye relief optic is something shooters need to consider.

Because they are mounted forward of a rifle’s action or on a handgun, too much weight can be a significant issue. It can off balance a weapon and make it awkward to swing and handle. Lots of weight on the front end of a rifle is never good. Pushing too much weight onto a handgun can be a huge hassle as well. Watch the weight and consider the position you have to mount the optic on the weapon.

Long Eyes

A good optic can take you a long way, even if it’s a long eye relief optic. Long eye relief optics give you just one more option for rifles and handguns that require a specially designed platform. They allow you to extend your effective range without limiting the function or handling of your rifle.

Long eye relief optics are nothing new but keep developing and forming into better and more efficient optics. The best might be yet to come, but for now, the best is listed above.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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